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Heriot-Watt has finalists in both the main Converge Challenge and the KickStart award categories.

We work with participants to develop their business plan, identify their funding options, and understand the role of marketing and communications.
Dr Olga Kozlova

Among the finalists in the main Converge Challenge award category, for those with an established idea, are the University's Alistair McConnell, ExoMotion; Dr Gabriela Medero, KENOTEQ; Professor Marc Desmulliez, MicroSense Technologies Ltd; Dr Helen Hastie, RobotAssure; Michael Harkins, Turtle Pack; and Dr Brian Miller, uFraction8.

The KickStart award finalists, for early stage ideas, include Gilan Booker, Benedict & Hott, technical tweed outerwear garments.

Converge Challenge aims to support business ideas at any stage in their development, and is the only higher education programme that is open to staff, students and recent graduates of all 19 Scottish universities and accepts applications for any product or service in any industry sector.

Dr Olga Kozlova, Director of Converge Challenge, said, “At Converge we provide a full package and we work with participants to develop their business plan, identify their funding options, and understand the role of marketing and communications right down to their own branding. We continue to see strong success rates, with 70% of Converge Challenge companies going on to secure follow-on funding and an 85% survival rate for companies after two years.”

The successful ‘Converge Challengers' will now participate in entrepreneurial training and development before taking to the stage to present their elevator pitches to an expert panel of judges in June. They are competing for the chance to win the overall top prize valued at £150,000, made up of a cash prize and a broad range of expert support and training provided through partners and sponsors.